Researchers and innovators from Tunisia will now be able to participate in Horizon 2020, the EU's framework programme for research and innovation, under the same conditions as their counterparts from EU Member States and other 13 associated countries. The agreement associating Tunisia to Horizon 2020 was signed on 1 December 2015 by Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Chiheb Bouden, Tunisian Minister for High Education and Scientific Research.
Commissioner Moedas said: 'I am pleased to welcome Tunisia into Horizon 2020, the biggest programme for research and innovation of the world. This agreement is a historical one. It shows that through research and innovation, the EU is supporting the young Tunisian democracy and helping to invest in knowledge as a foundation of future development. Tunisia's accession also shows how a research policy open to the world can bring novel ideas and enrich our common research efforts.'
The Association Agreement allows for enhanced cooperation in research and innovation between the EU and Tunisia, vital for successful and modern economies. It also represents another step towards reaching the EU goal of opening research and innovation to the world.
Tunisian research institutes, universities and individual researchers will now have access to all opportunities offered by Horizon 2020 that funds diverse scientific areas, from blue sky research to demonstration projects. Tunisian SMEs and businesses will also be able to benefit from increased support to develop new ideas and bring products and services to the market.
With a budget of €77 billion for 2014-2020, Horizon 2020 is the largest multinational programme dedicated to research and innovation. Until now, Tunisia could participate in Horizon 2020 as a third country, as it also did in its predecessor, FP7.
In FP7, Tunisia accounted for a total number of 103 successful participations in a total of 88 retained proposals, most of them in the Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture policy area. For Horizon 2020, Tunisia already participates with 1 signed agreement. In addition, there are 12 Tunisian participations in 10 mainlisted projects, which will in principle lead to grant agreements.
The current agreement covers the years 2016-2020 and will still need to be ratified by the Tunisian Parliament. However, Tunisian legal entities will now be able to participate in all Horizon 2020 on an equal footing with EU Member States and other associated countries already as of 1 January 2016.
Source: European Commision